Date: 08 Apr 2010

Marker-assisted Selection in Forage Crops and Turf: A Review

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Researchers and breeders have long been aware that the combination of conventional breeding approaches and molecular tools would benefit forage and turf cultivar development. In spite of this, the forage and turf cultivars currently released are still conventionally bred. This contrasts with the increasing number of research reports about DNA-marker assisted characterization of germplasm resources and QTL mapping for a variety of traits in different species. In this paper, we describe the few attempts undertaken thus far to make use of marker-assisted selection (MAS) in forage species. We also present an overview of the most-researched crops and traits of the past decennia, for which substantial genetic and genomic knowledge is currently available. The expected impact of association mapping approaches and cost-effective high-throughput genotyping technologies, as well as the wealth of information available from model organisms, is discussed. Achievements in breeding species such as maize demonstrate the effectiveness of international, multidisciplinary collaborations. Taking into consideration the level of individual industrial/academic investments currently typical in forage and turf breeding, we emphasize the relevance of international collaborative efforts and suggest ways to share resources (e.g., at the level of association mapping populations) for effective implementation of MAS programs in a typical forage or turf species.